Living the Dream

The Naked Tyrants of Dante’s Beach

July 15, 2012

However, let-it-all-hang-out communism is no longer as fashionable as it once was, and the majority may at last be stirring from its silence. There are now serious political moves afoot to force the nudists to move to a 250-meter stretch of another beach not too far away but outside the nature reserve. The nudists are having none of it. They regard Dante’s Beach, often listed in Italy’s top ten, as theirs.

On Thursday afternoon, I decided to go and give these naked tyrants a piece of my mind. With the temperature touching 40 degrees centigrade I went—clothed, of course—to Dante’s Beach and walked along it for about a mile past naked body after naked body. I passed hundreds of bodies, nearly all male. It was not a pretty sight. Eventually, I saw what I presumed to be the nudists’ HQ: A table and two benches made from driftwood and, next to it, a pole pitched in the sand from which flew an Italian flag.

I was right. Surrounded on all sides by naked men, I sat down at the makeshift table. The size of their sexual organs was far from impressive, which made me feel better immediately.

I asked them: “Is it right that this beach is di tutti but tutti cannot come here because you lot are here?”

“But tutti can come! It’s a spiaggia libera!” insisted Leonardo, a 49-year-old doctor.

So I said: “Oh, come off it! With their children?”

“Naked tutti! Tutti naked!” said Ezio, another middle-aged man. “When I go to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence I go to see beauty, the naked beauty of the statues of Michelangelo! It’s the same here.”

Not if you ask me. A fat naked woman in late middle age with cropped hair came and sat down. Franca was her name and she was Swiss.

“My six-year-old granddaughter is a nudist. For her to see naked people is totally normal,” said Franca. “We were born naked,” explained Franca’s very fat Italian husband Antonio.

“Why are there hardly any women here?” I asked. “Simple, they’re all culattoni (faggots),” said Daniele, a 54-year-old metalworker. “The couples come at weekends.”

They are nice enough people. But they do not get it. There is nothing wrong with a nudist beach, but not on a beautiful stretch of coast that belongs to everyone at everyone else’s expense.

But there is hope. The beach, dunes, and pine forest are full of rare birds. These include the Greater Spotted Eagle, the Avocet, the Black-winged Stilt, and the fratino (Kentish Plover).

The fratino, a small wading bird which nests in the dunes and decorates its nest with seashells, is on the verge of extinction—thanks, yes, to the mere sight of all those nudists. Last year, only 12 pairs nested at Lido di Dante and none of their young survived. As Giovanni Nobili, Vice Questore of the local Forestale, told the press a few weeks ago: “The situation of the fratino, this tiny wader once so common but now the species most at risk in the region, is deeply disturbing for all who care about the environment.”

To save the fratino, symbol of this earthly paradise, the Vice Questore is now moving heaven and earth to ban everyone, naked or not, from using Dante’s Beach to sunbathe and swim.

The majority’s rights, it is clear, count for nothing. But the rights of a small uccello (bird, but also slang for penis) just might swing it. True, the majority would also be banned. We’re used to it. But with the nudists gone, it might be safe to use my wife’s house again.


Daily updates with TM’s latest